Yvonne Quinn, from Dundalk, lost a whopping 3 stone 3 pounds in just 7 months
Yvonne Quinn, from Dundalk, lost a whopping 3 stone 3 pounds in just 7 months after joining her local Slimming World Group.
Here she tells her story, along with the ups and downs along the way, in her own words.
They say weight goes on in pounds, not stones - so why was I a half stone heavier every time I got on the scales? I was what I would call ‘acceptably overweight’ – my weight and shape was not noticeably overweight in work or casual clothes, but I hated shopping for special outfits for weddings and parties. I thought why waste money on clothes that will soon be too big for me? Even if I was getting bigger instead of smaller.
In October 2017, I was invited to a Gala event for work, and with a great sigh of relief, discovered that I had a dress that would stretch to fit me. On the night I felt great, but the pictures the following day showed me the story I didn’t want to see – I was visibly overweight and needed to do something about it.
We went on holidays to America, and when I returned, one of my work colleagues was starting at a slimming club at the end of November. Why wait until after Christmas, she said, when more damage would be done? That was the kickstart I needed. I decided to try Slimming World as one of my other colleagues had impressive results at it, and found a Saturday morning class which suited perfectly as I was home from work too late during the week to go to an evening class.
On my first morning, Sandra welcomed me with a big smile. As it was the last Saturday in November, I was the only new starter that week, so I got Sandra’s undivided attention for the new members talk. I stood on the scales, saw my weight (no shock there) and set my target loss of 3 stone 1 ½ lb, which would take me from a BMI of nearly 32, to a healthy BMI of approximately 24. To be honest, getting off the scales that day I didn’t think I would see that level of weight loss any time soon, but I hadn’t found my focus yet.
During the first week, I saw very quickly what my biggest problem areas were – chocolate and bread. I estimated that I had at least 40-50 syns a day in chocolate and bread alone, never mind takeaways if I was too tired to cook, eating out with my husband, and dinners such as lasagne made with jars of shop bought sauces.
I greatly reduced my snacking on sweets and crusty bread rolls, and started seeing results instantly. I became very focused on the plan while identifying the benefits to me of losing weight, and was determined to do it right this time. I even lost weight over Christmas and was Slimmer of the Month in December. By the start of 2018, I had lost my first stone, without ever feeling hungry or deprived. My mantra was ‘Plan, prepare, write, stay to group, repeat.’
The takeaways were now gone, replaced by Slimming World recipes for lasagne, cottage pie, sticky chicken, with homemade chips or wedges, and plenty of speed vegetables on the side. Some yogurts are free foods on the plan and have become part of my daily food plan. I use most of my syns on Chocolate, as I couldn’t stick to plan if I didn’t have my daily treat. A trip to Cadbury World in Birmingham was one of my favourite holidays in the past few years!
I didn’t hide the fact that I was trying to lose weight, and soon people started commenting on how well I looked, and that I had lost enough weight. My mantra then became ‘I didn’t come this far to only come this far’, as it would have been so easy to give up at that stage and get used to the new me with about 1 ½ stone lost. I concentrated fully on the food aspect of the plan, with only minimal attempts at exercising.
Apart from the free foods and speed foods, the most important part of the plan, in my opinion, is staying for group every week, especially in the week you gain weight or lack motivation. Inspiration comes in the form of food ideas and recipes, motivation, encouragement and even tough love when you really need it. Very often someone else in the group will be having the same difficulties, or have a suggestion that you would never have thought of, and you realise you are not alone. Sandra and the team are so welcoming and encouraging, and each member in the group has helped me along the weight loss journey.
Slimming World gives you all the tools you need to follow the plan, including recipe ideas, magazines and online access to food searches. Always check the syns/free food status of a product before buying it, don’t just guess it.
I still have lunch out every Saturday with my family or friends, and believe you have to find a way to live the plan, not endure it. My biggest change is being prepared for the week ahead, normally batch cooking at the weekend and having at least 4 different lunches available in the freezer to pick from for my working week.
With a total weight loss of 3 stone 3 pounds in 7 months, reaching target just in time for my birthday was the best birthday present I could have given myself, and my newly rekindled interest in clothes has severely dented my bank balance! My ‘big’ trousers are now on their way to a charity in Haiti! I still go to group every week and stay for the talk, now following the ‘Slim for life’ program for target members, and feel I need that motivation to keep me on track for the moment. Also, if I can motivate just one member each week to keep on the program, then I will have repaid the benefits I gained from the group.
These days my new mantra is "I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it!"